Feature Post: Children at Weddings?

Should you allow children to attend your wedding or make it an adult only day?

This is a debating topic that I have heard quite a bit of over the years, which usually generates some pretty strong views and opinions.

Little girl hiding behind church pew.

As you can imagine, this topic gets some people really worked up, and makes couples think hard about how to do things. We have obviously been to many, many weddings, both as photographers and guests, and we have therefore witnessed a huge variety of styles, themes, locations, etc. From what we have seen, there seems to be a near 50/50 split on people’s opinions on the matter!

Little and boy and girl in the aisle at church

Speaking personally, Cassie and I love kids at weddings. We think it adds to the fun of it, somehow makes it more magical and special, and of course we know we can capture some truly beautiful and fun photos of kids being kids!

Girls dancing in the summer

But, we do appreciate that there are both pros and cons for both situations. The usual ones being:

Pros of having kids at weddings:

 

  • Couples with young children or relatives will create some amazing memories for the entire family by including them in the wedding.
  • You have an opportunity to have traditional ring bearer and/or flower girl roles in the wedding.
  • You can get some truly awesome and usually comical photos of little people enjoying themselves at your wedding.
  • It’s so much easier letting parents decide whether they want to or not bring their kids to the wedding, than actually ‘forbidding’ them from bringing the kids. Plus parents get to enjoy some quality time with their little ones during a special day.
  • Kids often bust out some major moves to the dance floor, adding some laughs to the evening and hopefully some hilarious photos to cherish later.

Wedding group shots with children

Cons of having kids at weddings:

 

  • It can be very difficult to decide not to have children at your wedding, and even more difficult to inform your friends and relatives that their children are not invited! It may even cause some unwanted friction.
  • Kids can be unpredictable, so you never know what might happen (kids will be kids) – a crying fit might be just around the corner.
  • They might steal the focus and become the centre of attention (even if only briefly), instead of the newlyweds.
  • Involving kids might increase your overall budget to include things like entertainment for them, etc.

Little boy in the aisle during the service.

Page boy and flower girl approaching the groom during the service.

So when trying to decide on how you want to have your wedding, I think you need to ask yourself a number of questions. I think once you have answered all these questions truthfully, you will know what you want (if you don’t already!):

 

  1. Do you want to have a big or small ceremony/reception? Inviting children can significantly add the number of guests to your wedding.
  2. What time is your ceremony and reception? Remember little ones tend to go to bed early and have naps in the day. If you want to invite them but expect them to stay up until 2 in the morning and not be able to provide anywhere for them to nap/rest, think again!
  3. Does your venue have accommodation, or is there local accommodation? In other words, can your guests duck out to put their children to bed and still enjoy the rest of the night with you? If you are going to have kids, it’s always great (where possible) to set aside a quiet room for napping and just general quiet time, away from the noise and excitement of the wedding.
  4. What is the size of the venue? Will it be too crowded if you invite all the children as well?
  5. What is your budget? Having children involved can mean extra funds: goody bags for them, additional entertainment, special food, hiring babysitters, etc… Sometimes it is better to spend a bit more money when having kids, so you can (for example) hire a mobile crèche company, with trained staff that are happy to look after kids while the parents let their hair down and enjoy the night. You could go one step further and hire things like bouncy castles, etc.
  6. If you have kids at your wedding, will you be prepared for the potential tantrums they might have? And are you willing to provide little goody bags with treats and toys that will help keep them amused and entertained throughout the day, hopefully minimising the chance of a ‘meltdown’?
  7. Can your caterers provide different meals for the little ones? You can’t expect them to want to eat smoked salmon, pumpkin and spinach soup or crème brulee. Opt instead for simpler meals like good old fish and chips, and vanilla ice cream for dessert!

Little girl in the sun

little boys playing with red noses and binoculars at a wedding

As you can see, there certainly is a lot to consider, and there really isn’t a right or wrong answer. It is simply a matter of choice, preference, practicality, availability and frankly, budget.

What are your opinions on the matter? What did you (or will you do) at your wedding? I would love to hear your experience and thought on the matter, so please share!

And on a final note, the most well received thing I have seen is goody bags. Now that Cassie and I have a child of our own, we really appreciate things that keep Lana entertained and happy. Watch this space, as I will be getting Cassie to blog about ideas for goody bags for kids!

2014-02-11_0013Children on the dance floor at a wedding Boy dancing at a wedding, like a boss!

Thanks for reading,

Andy

 

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